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TMG urges caution over allegations against officials of electoral body

By Kehinde Olatunji, Ijeoma Thomas-Odia (Lagos) and Danjuma Michael (Katsina)
20 February 2019   |   4:13 am
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has urged politicians to desist from heating up the polity with allegations against Independent National Electoral Commission...

Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode

Groups fault Oshiomhole for seeking Igini’s sack, INEC’s alleged compromise of ad-hoc staff list
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has urged politicians to desist from heating up the polity with allegations against Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s officials of compromising the electoral process.

TMG is concerned about attempts to damage the credibility of some INEC national commissioners, who have proven to be worthy ambassadors of the country over time.

Chairman of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said, “We are more concerned about the petition submitted by the Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Akwa Ibom chapter calling for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, for alleged partisanship and other sundry offences ahead of the polls.

“Igini has since refuted the allegations. However, the claims deserve scrutiny, if Nigerians are to get a sense of closure from the events of the recent past, when politicians subverted the democratic choices and aspirations of Nigerians through political gimmicks to gain electoral advantage.”

The group urged former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Peace Commission to ensure that political parties show more commitment to the peace pact they signed for violent-free elections and to prevent malpractices that could trigger election conflicts.

Also, Katsina State REC, Jibrin Zarewa has been accused of compromising shortlisted names of the commission’s ad-hoc staff for the general elections in favour of some politicians and other vested interests.

The Concerned Citizens of Katsina State (CCKS), which made the allegation yesterday, said the short-listed names of those to serve as presiding officers (POs) and assistant presiding officers (APOs) pasted in the 34 local government areas of the state had been tampered with.

Meanwhile, the Society for Rule of Law in Nigeria (SRLN), has described the demand by National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, to remove Igini, as a “function of vendetta against the REC over his refusal to do the party’s bidding, especially in the August 18, 2018 Port Harcourt Constituency III by-election in Rivers State.”

The group said the APC should not be seen as sending wrong signals to Nigerians and the international community that it was opposed to free, fair and credible elections.

In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday, its Coordinator, Chima Ubeku, it noted that it was uncharitable for a ruling party to single out a REC on national television just because he played a prominent role in INEC’s refusal to award it victory in the Rivers bye-election.

Also, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to security personnel to deal ruthlessly with any person involved in activities aimed at disrupting the conduct of the general elections.